On Day 6, I mentioned the PolyWogg Reading Challenge (#MoreJoy – Day 6 of 31 – My Reading Challenge), and it is a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma which one I would write about first, as they go hand-in-hand.
I like reading, first and foremost. And after reading pretty much any book, I like writing a review. Some people like doing reviews as it is like a bookmark for them…a milestone that says “I read this”, while others are content merely to add the book name to a spreadsheet or app or website to track what they’ve read. Others are more interested in the next book than keeping track of other books. And others keep a list, but not for any milestone purpose other than to prevent themselves from buying the same book again! I feel all those desires too, but there is something different about my madness.
I like writing reviews because I like organizing my thoughts around the book. Did I like it for the style? The plot? The characters? The diversion?
Did I feel “meh” because it was simply not compelling to me on any level? Did I find myself “forcing” myself to finish it?
Yet my reviews don’t stop at books. I want to do the same with TV episodes even, movies, music, etc. I don’t feel the urge to review telescopes, so it isn’t universal, but I do like the idea of reviewing accessories like smartphone adapters. I don’t review electronics, but I might review an app or two. Or 100.
In a way, it is tightly tied to my curation desire for knowledge. I like pulling a bunch of wayward bits of information together into a framework for a more coherent whole. And so I write multiple types of reviews.
Yet therein lies part of the rub. It is easy to get BEHIND on reviews, except there’s no deadline. I have lots of books that I have read in the last 2 years that I haven’t done a review for yet, as well as movies. Or whole seasons of TV shows. I’m also somewhat unclear if there is an audience for any of the reviews. I don’t promote them widely or anything, I’m not trying to drum up a large following.
Way back when I was first starting my website, I loved the idea of doing NEW movie reviews the same weekend it was released. See it opening day, review it opening night, share my views before the hordes make their decisions. Yet I also like having a life too. Back then, I didn’t have much of one and that was one direction I considered pursuing long-term if I was single. That’s a much more complicated story than I have space or time for right here, but I considered trying to make myself into an amateur reviewer.
The significance of that time though leads directly to two other aspects that continue. First, I take my reviews seriously enough to try to do them respectfully, not some tongue-in-cheek, drive-by review. Second, I created a structure that takes some time to write. I can’t dash off a review in 30s, or even 5m. A book review can take me 20-30m to write, plus I then copy it to multiple sites for sharing, save the review in a couple of places for local backup / tracking, and then move on. I binged 35 books back in June, and that means if I review them normally, I’m looking at a minimum of 20h to review them all. That is NOT happening. I need to come up with a new format to review books that is shorter and punchier, not the full-length review that I normally do.
And I’m EXCITED by the idea of coming up with a new format.
Did I mention I LIKE writing reviews? Thinking about reviews? Thinking about how I communicate about reviews? How I share my reviews?
That I like writing ABOUT reviews, as I’m doing now?
I have a dream that when I die, I’ll be all caught up on my reviews. In the meantime, I’m going to enJOY the writing.